Howard Dean is stepping down as Democratic National chairman. He has been criticized as a poor fundraiser and was not entrusted with many major tasks by the Obama campaign this fall. But Dean's 50 state campaign plan—building a Democratic Party in every state—turned out to have been a real winner for the party. It helped to expand the field for the Obama campaign and helped make many Democrats competitive—and successful—in states that George W. Bush carried by considerable margins in 2000 and 2004. Dean also kept in close touch with the mostly left-wing "netroots" that supplied so much of the energy for Democrats in 2006 and this year. Dean apparently feels that the DNC position will be less important with a Democratic president in office, and that is surely the case. But I think Democrats owe a big round of thanks to Howard Dean for a job well done.